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The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Tuesday non-congregate housing plans are in the works for four western Kansas counties.


"The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and local public health departments to set up non-congregate housing in Finney, Ford, Lyon, and Seward Counties," KDHE communications director Kristi Zears said. "These facilities will be used to either quarantine individuals that may have been exposed or to isolate individuals with laboratory confirmed positive or are presumptive positive."


As to the extent of what the non-congregate housing will entail, KDHE hadn’t responded as of press time.


The Ford County Health Department was notified of 16 new positive cases of the coronavirus Tuesday morning.


Yet, according to the KDHE’s Tuesday report, the number of Ford County cases is at 187, a seven-case increase from Monday's report.


The KDHE said case counts are preliminary and subject to change.


"We understand that the recent increase in numbers can be alarming, but keep in mind that we are being extra vigilant and aggressive in our response and investigation into each case," Ford County administrator J.D. Gilbert said. "If we were taking a more 'passive surveillance' approach, we would not be identifying as many cases. The community is still being protected.


"The precautions for one case in a county would be the same for a county with the amount of cases we have identified.


"We need to be serious about staying home, social distancing and washing our hands. That will not change until the pandemic is over even when we see our numbers decline."


The KDHE report also showed the second hospitalization case in Ford County with 150 not hospitalized.


The age range of those hospitalized is 53-54 years old.


The number of tests conducted in Ford County was 376 as of Tuesday.


Statewide, 2,025 cases have been reported with 419 hospitalizations, 107 deaths and 17,076 negative tests conducted.


There have been zero deaths reported in Ford County.


In terms of recovery numbers, Gilbert said, "We do have cases recovering. As to the exact number it is still under observation."


According to Zears, the private business cluster in Ford County remains at two.


"A cluster is two or more confirmed cases associated to one known exposure," Zears said. "An example would be two positive cases resulting from being at a birthday party with someone who tests positive."


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.